Posts Tagged ‘Rahm Emanuel’

That Time is not Now

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

The Obama administration has no imminent plans to introduce a U.S. peace plan, which would impose final status  agreement on Israel and the Palestinians.

“That time is not now,” Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel told Charlie Rose, as reported by JTA. The “time now is to get back to the proximity talks, have those conversations that eventually will lead to direct negotiations, start to make the hard decisions to bring a balance between the aspirations of the Israelis for security and make that blend with the aspirations of the Palestinian people for their sovereignty.”

According to the JTA, Obama and Hillary Clinton have pushed back against the claim, as well. For now, they continue to hope the parties can work toward agreement themselves, in indirect talks facilitated by the United States.

Jewish Leaders in the White House: Take One

Monday, July 13th, 2009

The message reached the president.

The other day, I blogged that the time is right for President Obama to visit Israel, noting that his support in Israel is slipping. If he makes his case directly to the Israeli public, I wrote, he would likely win crucial Jewish support for his Middle East agenda.

Today, during a meeting at the White House with American Jewish leaders, Obama was pressed on this point, directly. This is from the Jerusalem Post’s coverage

At the end of the meeting, Americans for Peace Now President Debra DeLee suggested that Obama visit Israel to deliver his message directly to Israelis as a way of emphasizing his commitment to Israel and reassuring Israelis that he is concerned about their well-being.

While Obama did not respond to the request at the time, according to those in the room, there has been discussion that the president might make such a trip as part of his policy of active engagement in the Middle East.

In addition to the 16 Jewish leaders from  14 organizations, “those in the room” included, according to The Forward, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, senior advisor David Axelrod, and Daniel Shapiro, who heads the Middle East division of the National Security Council.

That an Obama trip to Israel is under consideration is very good news.

Rahm, Bruce, and Hava Nagila

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Jeffrey Goldberg, reporter for the Atlantic, has the scoop of the century on his blog. According to Goldberg, Bruce Springsteen played Hava Nagila at his Washington, DC concert last week — thanks in large part to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Here’s a link to the story.

As Goldberg tells it, a guy named Clifford Mendelson, who had recently met Bruce, went to the concert holding a “Hava Nagila” sign — urging Springsteen to play it. I’ve been to a dozen or more Springsteen shows, and can safely attest to the fact that normally, people show up with “Rosalita” or “Murder Incorporated” or “Jungleland” signs. This might have been a first.

Anyway, Rahm saw the sign, and loved it, and handed it up to NY Times columnist David Brooks, who handed it to a Secret Service agent, who handed it up to Bruce on stage. Springsteen loved it, too, and promptly played it! Here’s the priceless YouTube video.

As Goldberg writes:

There are those in Israel who say that Rahm is insufficiently zealous in his Jewishness. I think Mendelson’s story is an appropriate response to such a charge.

Or, as Springsteen might put it: Rahm believes in the promised land!

(Cross-posted on NJDC’s blog here.)